Sunday, April 22, 2012



You did know that, didn't you? If not, you have our now
all-but-certified presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, to
thank for enlightening you. Now you can rest easy. If 
our all-but-certified presidential candidate, Mitt Romney,
doesn't happen to win the election in November, at least
we know that the man who will then retain control of the
executive branch for (at least) the next four years will
never intentionally do anything to harm this country, its
Constitution, or its people. Nice guys simply don't do
things like that.

You can also thank God that we have found an all-but-certified presidential candidate who has the good sense and judgment to select such a powerful campaign theme. Listen to the ring of it: "Barack Obama is a nice guy!" What can go wrong? Especially when we have such recent evidence of the sure-fire winner such an approach is certain to be [see John McCain campaign, circa 2008; John McCain endorsement and advice, circa 2012]. You can also thank God for the Establishment Republicans, who gave us John McCain and Mitt Romney, and who now control the House of Representatives, despite the tireless efforts of such as the Tea Party.


You also knew that, didn't you? And so if you are a Republican member of the House, and you receive a bill from the Senate that has been heavily promoted by such nice guys as Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid, you would certainly want to rubber stamp it and get it out the door for the immediate signature of the salivating nice guy Barack Obama, right?

Let's talk a little about this bill. It bears the informative sobriquet "MAP-21", which stands for, believe it or not, the ‘Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act’. If knowing that the bill is heavily promoted by Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid doesn't make you comfortable about immediately rubber stamping it, one glance at the full title should tell you all you need to know. Who can possibly be against one iota of "moving ahead for progress in the 21st century"?

The bill weighs in at a slender, for these days, 1,676 pages. You can bet, of course, that every member of the House will read this bill in its entirety before casting a vote. We should be thankful that after Congress got away with the 2,700 page monstrosity of Obamacare, they did not decree 2,700 pages to be the minimum for all future bills. 

The actual bill can be found in .pdf here. The official title is "AN ACT To reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes". The "and for other purposes" part tells us everything we need to know, and we should just rubber stamp the bill, right?

Wait: one of the "other purposes" provides that the IRS can cancel the passport of an American citizen on the mere allegation of the IRS that the citizen owes $50,000 in taxes. No proof, no hearing, no court review, and you cannot leave the country until the IRS says so. As bad as this provision is in itself, and as unrelated as it is to highway construction, you can ponder at least two things: (1) how often will friends of the "Nice Guys" mentioned above be subjected to this provision?; and (2) how many intriguing "other purposes" is such a bill stuffed with?

One other purpose getting attention from people not in Congress is the “Mandatory Event Data Recorders” provision. These "black boxes" have been around for many years, and it is doubtful if a single new car is sold in the country without one. So what, exactly, is the need to suddenly make them "mandatory"? 

Perhaps the answer lies in numerous other provisions that have nothing to do with highway construction, including, among many others, use of cell phones, coercing states on the issuance of drivers licenses, and a provision providing research money for "in-vehicle alcohol detection device research", presumably including the "trans-dermal sensor technology" that would allow the steering wheel of your car to test your skin for evidence of alcohol, and, if the sensor is not satisfied, turning off your car or preventing it from starting. 

The bill is a cornucopia of such things, but don't worry - your data will be safe, until "the Secretary" wants it. The Secretary is permitted to “require an interoperable data access port to facilitate universal accessibility and analysis”. In case you don't know it, such data ports are quite frequently wireless. In other words, every conceivable thing taking place during your use of your car will be instantly available to "the Secretary" or his designees.

MO Atty does not pretend to have made more than a scratch in the surface of MAP-21. The terrible thing is that he may already know more about it than will the several hundred House members, including many Republicans, as they rubber stamp this thing. But again, don't worry: we can certainly trust anyone who is a "Nice Guy".

MO Atty

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